If you are here to learn about Wyoming Probate after the passing of a loved one, we first want to say that we are very sorry for your loss. We hope that the information you find on this here will simplify any legal and administrative headaches you might otherwise face during such a difficult time.
With that said, Wyoming Probate is a court-supervised procedure that helps to ensure the legal transfer of assets from the deceased to the rightful heirs or Beneficiaries.
Probate is also necessary to:
Prove the validity of the Will
Appoint a person to manage the Estate (an “Administrator”, if a Will does not exist, an “Executor” if a Will does exist)
Inventory and appraise the estate property
Pay any debts or taxes (including estate taxes)
Distribute the property as directed by the Will, or by state law if a Will does not exist
In Wyoming, if a person has $200,000 in assets or real property, they will most likely need to have their assets probated.
What is Probate?
Many people believe the a will is enough for them because trusts are only for the wealthy. A will is a good start because it gives instructions to the probate court on how you want your assets distributed, but a trust can help you avoid probate all together and you want to avoid probate. Why?
1. Probate takes a long time-In Wyoming it takes 6-12 months to complete a probate case. In that time your family will have limited or no access to your assets.
2. Probate is emotionally draining-Your family will have to be dragged through the court process
3. Probate is public-your life is on display which means creditors, predators and opportunists can make a play for your assets.
4. Probate is expensive- You can expect 5% of your entire estate to go towards probate fees. This means for every 1 million dollars in assets you own, at least $50,000 would not go to your family
5. Probate gives limited control-In a probate proceeding your assets could be assigned to your children as soon as they turn 18. Not many 18 year-olds are equipped to deal with the financial responsibility of an entire estate.
What’s So Bad About Probate in Wyoming, and What Should I Do Next?
Probate tends to be very expensive, time-consuming, and it is also a public process.
The easiest way to avoid the Probate process is to plan
If you are currently in a situation where you must go through Probate courts to finalize the Estate of a loved one, the best thing you can do is become educated. Then seek help to complete the process as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.
How is a Probate Started in Wyoming?
Although any Beneficiary or creditor can initiate probate, generally the person named in the Will as the Executor starts the process by filing the original Will with the court and filing a Petition with the probate court.
If there is no Will, typically a close relative of the decedent who expects to inherit from the Estate will file the Petition.
How is the Executor Chosen?
The decedent's Will names the Executor, that named person will serve as the Executor, if eligible.
If that person is unable or unwilling to serve as Executor, or if there is not an existing Will, then any interested family member or person can petition the Court to be the Administrator of the Estate.
My Loved One Had a Trust…Will We Need to Go Through Probate?
In most cases, no. If your loved ones' assets are owned in the name of a Trust, the family can contact a lawyer who will complete paperwork and guide the loved ones through the process with ease and without the need for court involvement.
Unfortunately, many people who have a Trust think they have it all taken care of. But time and again, family members of a recently passed loved one come into our office and they find out they are facing the frustration, expense, and delay of a Probate, even though the person they loved had a Trust.
Why is that?
Often the Trust was prepared many years ago and was not updated; and often, their loved ones’ assets were not owned in the name of their Trust. That is why it is so very important that you carefully appoint your Estate Planning Attorney, have regular reviews of your plan and assets; so that he planning you do now works as planned later.
It’s why we do things much differently than most other lawyers and law firms, here at Legacy Law.
What Assets Are Subject to Probate?
Assets owned solely in the name of the deceased person are subject to Probate. Assets that pass by means of title, such as real estate titled as “Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship,” or bank accounts titled as “Transfer on Death” are not subject to the Probate process. Assets that pass by means of a Beneficiary designation, such as life insurance or some retirement accounts, are also not subject to Probate.
In some situations, however, assets that would otherwise pass by title or Beneficiary Designation can be subject to the Probate process. Contact us to speak with an attorney if you have questions about your specific situation.
Getting Help: Choosing the Right Attorney for Your Probate Case
The best way to ensure your Probate is done right is to choose your attorney wisely.
Do not assume that all attorneys are the same!
Too many lawyers only “dabble” in Probate or Trusts. Do not choose a lawyer who does Probate on the sideline because, too often, these lawyers blunder, causing real problems for their client(s) and their cases often take longer than those handled by experienced Probate lawyers.
You do not have to use the attorney who prepared the Will either!
Just because a particular attorney prepared the Will, this does not mean that same attorney must handle the Probate, nor are they necessarily the right person for the job either.
You need to be comfortable with the attorney and confident that they are the right attorney for you. Choosing your Probate or Trust lawyer is one of the most important decisions you will make. If you put in the time and effort to find the right lawyer, you will be rewarded with a skillful guide who will help you navigate the Probate process.
Contact Legacy Law for a Complimentary Post-Death Estate Review
If you are ready to get started with the Probate process after the passing of a loved one, please contact our office at
307-212-0998 or click here to send an email to schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation to help determine your next best steps. We are here, committed to make this entire process as easy as possible for you.
Serving Families to Help & Protect Their Children
Schedule Your Post Death Estate Review
During this complimentary appointment, we will answer all of your questions about Probate, guiding you and your family through each step. Helping you administer your loved one’s Estate as quickly and efficiently as possible, we look forward to relieving any administrative or legal burdens you may face during this time of loss.
Call today to schedule a Probate Administration appointment.